March 2017

IZA DP No. 10685: Interstate Mobility Patterns of Likely Unauthorized Immigrants: Evidence from Arizona

published in: Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy, 2019, 2, 109 - 120

A growing literature has documented the displacement effects of tougher interior immigration enforcement measures; yet, we still lack an understanding of where the displaced populations are choosing to relocate. In this paper, we address this question using Arizona as a case study. Specifically, we examine the destinations of Mexican non-citizens leaving Arizona for other states in the union following the adoption of tougher enforcement measures using two different groups of control states: one consisting of all states that had not adopted similar measures, and another one derived using the synthetic control method. We find that Mexican non-citizens who migrated from Arizona to other U.S. states went, primarily, to New Mexico and California. Other destination states differed with the control group being used, underscoring the sensitivity of this type of analysis to the choice of control group. Furthermore, the trajectories of Mexican non-citizens leaving Arizona overlapped with those of non-Hispanic natives, hinting on the role that socioeconomic and political factors, in addition to potential complementarities between immigrants and natives, might have played in explaining the destinations of Mexican non-citizens leaving Arizona after 2007.